Educators’ Convention Provides Something Better

October 24, 2023

PHOENIX – Texas Conference teachers and education staff attended the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists Educators’ Convention on Aug. 7-10, 2023, in Phoenix, Ariz. This event, only the fifth one held, provided inspiration and continuing education for all Seventh-day Adventist educators. With almost 6,000 in attendance, it was a wonderful opportunity for educators to network with other Adventist professionals.

“As a new employee at the Texas Conference, I have only public education professional conferences for comparison. After being in Phoenix, I can say without a doubt that was the best educational professional development I’ve ever experienced. The keynote speakers had me crying just about every session, and the connections I made with other teachers during the breakouts were just on another level. The presenters were a timely reminder of my primary objective to ‘love these kids into eternity’ and have faith that with God’s help and some hard work, we will get to where He wants us to be,” said Brandy Barber, Chisholm Trail Academy science teacher.

“We had 197 educators attending from the Texas Conference,” Kisha Norris, Texas Conference vice president for education, shared. “Our teachers were able to use this time as a spiritual renewal, a brainstorming session with fellow educators and a bonding experience with their fellow Texas teachers.”

“The Texas Conference has always made the Educators’ Convention a priority for our educational staff,” Texas Conference President Elton DeMoraes, added. “Between the Southwestern Union and Texas Conference, their registration, hotels, meals and travel costs are covered. We understand the importance of them attending an event like this.”

This year, the Educators’ Convention had more than 300 presentations divided into five breakout sessions. In addition, there was devotion time, keynote speakers, music and more than 150 exhibitors. New features this year included EdTalks, a series of 18-minute TED Talk-style leadership and education presentations; Spark Tank, a Shark Tank-style event to showcase innovative evangelism projects and a special track for Early Childhood.

“Innovative, inspiring and motivating! The EdTalks were an experience that I would pay to repeat,” said Robyn-Anna Grimsley, Texas Conference associate superintendent. “The ambiance was exciting and dynamic. The speakers were engaging and provided a clear message about excellent leadership and encouragement for listeners.”

“This was the first time that Early Childhood had a track,” Ellen Thomas, principal for Burton Adventist Academy and a skilled Early Childhood educator, stated. “One of the activities included an ongoing scavenger hunt where 100 early childhood cards were hidden around the convention center. Breakout classes included Accreditation, Creation Kids, How to Play, Movement in Early Childhood and many more. About 300 early childhood educators attended.”

In 2021, a vote was taken by the directors of education at the union level to change the name from Teachers’ Convention to Educators’ Convention to be more inclusive. They also voted to host the convention every five years.

The theme for this year’s Educators’ Convention, “Something Better,” was inspired by author Ellen G. White in the book Education. “‘Something better’” is the watchword of education … To honor Christ, to become like Him, to work for Him, is the life’s highest ambition and its greatest joy.” It is also a great reminder that our schools need to offer something better than the world has to offer.

“It was a pleasure joining our greatest evangelists as they spent this time enhancing their skill sets,” DeMoraes concluded. “I am proud of the wonderful educators in the Texas Conference who make an eternal difference daily in their classrooms. Please keep them in prayer as they strive to provide something better in their communities.”

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By Tamara Michalenko Terry

Associate Director for Communication & Public Relations